Hidden Burial Vault and the Skeletal Remains of 12 Found Under Washington Square Park

Posted On Thu, November 5, 2015 By

Posted On Thu, November 5, 2015 By In Greenwich Village, History

It’s pretty well known that Washington Square Park started out as a potters field, a burial ground for the poor, and later as a resting place for those who died from yellow fever. But this has always been something out of the history books. Until now.

Recently, a group of city workers in the process of upgrading water mains under the park came upon a hidden vault containing the skeletal remains of at least a dozen people believed to be approximately 200 years old. According to officials from the Department of Design and Construction, the vault is eight feet deep, 15 feet wide, and 20 feet long. While the exact details are unknown right now, a team of anthropologists and and archaeologists will be requested to evaluate and determine the age of both the remains and the vault.

The infrastructure project is located on the east side of the park above what was previously the potters field, used as a public burial ground from 1797-1825. In 1826 the city purchased the land and turned it into a military parade ground and later a park. The water main upgrade is only one part of a much longer initiative from the Department of Design and Construction that also includes the installment of catch basins, sewer manholes, and traffic lights. Additionally, they will install in the area a green bicycle lane and new street signage, and private utilities will be upgraded.

[Via DNAinfo ]

Photos via Department of Design and Construction

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